NEW YORK – The NBA announced today that retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, the first woman to lead the United States Air Force Academy, has been named Senior Vice President and Head of Referee Operations. She will begin on Oct. 16 and report to President, League Operations Byron Spruell.
Johnson, a distinguished 1981 graduate of the Air Force Academy and one of the top women’s basketball players in school history, will direct the NBA’s officiating program with responsibility for the recruitment, training, development and evaluation of all referees. She will also oversee the NBA Replay Center and leverage the new Officiating Advisory Council as well as manage the league’s transparency initiatives and harness advanced technologies to enhance all facets of the officiating program.
“Michelle has decades of experience successfully leading large, highly professionalized organizations and spurring growth through innovation,” said Spruell. “With a disciplined, analytical approach to problem solving and a proven track record of building consensus and acting with the utmost integrity, Michelle has the qualities to maximize the effectiveness of our officiating program.”
Johnson will replace Mike Bantom, who is transitioning into a new role with the league after five years as Executive Vice President, Referee Operations. Bantom, a 28-year NBA executive, will be a senior adviser on several development initiatives critical to the league’s operations.
“Mike has represented the best of the NBA during his nearly 30 years of service,” said Spruell. “His passion and diligence are reflected in the strength of our officiating program. We’re fortunate to continue benefiting from his expertise and counsel as he serves in a new but familiar capacity with the NBA.”
Johnson served with distinction in various Air Force assignments before retiring in…